Successful congress hosted by British Guild of Agricultural Journalists

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The 58th IFAJ World congress took place in Aberdeen, Scotland from September 4-7 last.

Over 210 journalists and communicators from 36 countries were in attendance and enjoyed a packed schedule of events and visits.

At the delegate meeting, a majority of delegates voted to re-elect the Presidium comprising of Markus Rediger, Owen Roberts, Riitta Mustonen and James Campbell for another two-year term. The accounts presented by Treasurer were passed unanimously.

Aberdeen City Council hosted a ‘welcome dinner’ at the famous Beach Ballroom along the Aberdeen seafront on the first evening.

On Friday, delegates visited the giant Thainstone Exchange, a cattle and sheep mart where among the guest speakers was the President of the NFU in Scotland, Nigel Miller.

After lunch, delegates were taken to the famous Mackie farm. This enterprising family operation is famous for making ice cream with milk from its own herd. They have also diversified into gourmet crisps and delegates were taken on a detailed tour of the farm. This was followed by a barbeque on the farm.

On Saturday and Sunday, delegates went on various tours of food and farming enterprises. On Saturday night, a Taste of Grampion dinner took place at the Thainstone Exchange followed by a traditional Scottish Ceillidh. The night was tinged with some sadness as we remembered the late Joe Watson, one of the chief organisers of this congress who sadly passed away suddenly earlier this year. Members of his family were in attendance on the night.

The congress concluded on Sunday night with a gala dinner Raemoir House Hotel near Banchory on Royal Deeside. The guest speaker was the Scottish first Minister Alex Salmond.

The Irish guild members in attendance this year were David Markey, Rodney McGowan, Chris McCullough, Brian Donaldson, Stephen Cadogan, James & Alison Campbell, Pat O’Keeffe and Damien O’Reilly.
Next year’s congress will take place in New Zealand in October 2015. In 2016, Germany will host the congress and in 2017 the congress moves to South Africa. The IFAJ is open to offers to host the 2018 congress with the Netherlands currently considering the option.

For more details on the IFAJ, go to their website, www.ifaj.org.

Damien O’Reilly
IFAJ Delegate